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Book TV After Words

Peniel Joseph Education. (2010) Peniel Joseph ('Dark Days, Bright Nights') interviewed by Kevin Merida.

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Cuba 34, U.s. 24, Guantanamo 16, United States 15, Theodore Roosevelt 12, Washington 5, Raul Castro 4, Latin America 4, Haiti 4, Navy 4, Havana 4, Jamaica 4, Panama 3, South America 3, Guantanamo City 3, America 3, Lyndon Johnson 2, Mr. Schwab 2, Johnson 2, Platt 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV After Words    Peniel Joseph  Education.  (2010) Peniel Joseph  
   ('Dark Days, Bright Nights') interviewed by Kevin Merida.  

    January 23, 2010
    12:00 - 1:00pm EST  

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>> that has occurred in haiti, and one of the things that interest me about guantanamo is that, particularly in the early years, that we had the base. in the early 1900s. there was an earthquake in jamaica, and president theodore roosevelt dispatched ships with doctors and nurses onboard to
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jamaica. the governor of jamaica was a bit of an idiot didn't like the u.s. interference, but nevertheless, we provided very quick medical assistance and needed supplies. guantanamo is serving that function even as we speak. one of the first ships to arrive in haiti after the earthquake, i read in the "new york times" this morning, was a military ship, coast guard cutter, that was base at guantánamo. i also understand that a number of people who have been rescued who were injured in the earthquake, including the spanish ambassador to haiti, have been taken to guantanamo for medical attention. so this is something that i think, if and when, relations
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between the united states and cuba become much more amicable, or relations are restored, i would like to see this to be considered as a way in which guantanamo could be used. because earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, this is a very busy seismic area, the caribbean. there are disasters that occur throughout the region almost every year. okay. i called this talk sort of my boys of discovery. i'll tell you how this became a research topic of mine, because when i first decided to write about guantanamo, it was 2003, and there was practically nothing written about the
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history of guantanamo. and at that time and had not achieved the infamous reputation that it has subsequently acquired as an interrogation and detention center for suspected international terrorists are well, i had written the paper about the good neighbor policy that i want to get published, and it mention guantanamo in passing. and one of the outside readers who hated my essay, asked rhetorically, how would mr. schwab deal about it if cuba had a major military base on u.s. soil? well, the notion of coors seemed preposterous. but my wife, diana, said well, there's a research topic. and my graduate advisor birchwood said the same words after shooing me away from another proposed topic. i knew very little about
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guantanamo at that time. it was the oldest u.s. overseas base, and the only one in a nation with which we had not had normal diplomatic relations for at the time, over 40 years. now of course, about 50 years. and virtually nothing had been written about its history. and this led me to ask my own rhetorical questions. why did we get it? why had we kept it? had always been a sore point in u.s. cuba relations? why had historians ignored it? i didn't know the answers to any of those questions. and i was really amazed to find at that time there were only two history dissertations that focus specifically on guantanamo. one by phone in bradley reynolds who hated the subject. that limited its scope to the
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period from 1895 to 1910. the reason he hit it was he had a hard time finding any information. the second was by a woman named mary mccoy that covers a much broader period. but it's essentially a marxist interpretation that takes as gospel fidel castro's claim that our presence at guantanamo is illegal. in spite of the fact that there are two separate bilateral treaties that provide for the leasing arrangement, and every president from theodore roosevelt, certainly to george w. bush, and i would say president obama, has essentially affirms our right to be there. i think the actions that i mentioned just a few minutes ago are a kind of information that guantanamo can be useful in times of serious distress. shortly after i decided to
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consider this topic seriously, i read a brief historical essay, also by bradley reynolds, that lacked the unifying theme, it was published in a book called u.s. navy and record bases overseas. a rather dry old book. but it did sketch guantanamo's history from 1898 to the present. it told me that guantanamo had serve multiple functions over the 90 year period. and had been an ongoing prominent factor in u.s. cuba relations. so on the basis of this rather skimpy essay, i decided that if nothing else, i could use reynolds article to draft outline and i guide to the work that i would like. a major focus of my book is on the period 1934 to the present. for it was in 1934 that the united states government
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abrogated, but renewed the treaty concerning the lease for guantanamo. and franklin roosevelt used exactly the same language that his cousin, theodore roosevelt, had dictated in 1903. now there are at least a couple of events affecting my research that occurred, i would say, serendipitously. early on a new york literary agent found out that i was doing this. i'm not sure how he discovered me, but he contacted me to offer his services and to request that i write a book proposal that he could blog with very under various published housing. this prompted me to organize my thoughts and to write what he essentially became the introductory chapter to my work. ultimately, this agent informed me that he had learned that another writer had signed a contract with a major new york
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publishing firm to write a history of guantanamo, and he didn't think the commercial market would absorb two works on the subject. the other book, has never materialized. the second serendipitous event was that one of the first places i went to do research was the washington navy yard, and what i do whenever i plan to go to an archive is i get in touch with the head archivist before i'm coming. and i say, this is my topic and this is what i want to do. you know, is it worth coming there? can you help me out? and that why i at least have some idea of the lay of the land before i go. well, the archivist there on the second day that i showed up, he had a little glint in his eye and he motioned me to come over. and he said, mr. schwab, he said, i have an idea for you.
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and he said, before i share my idea, he said what you promised me that when you finish your dissertation you will give me a copy? of the dissertation for the library. and that there becomes a book which i suspect it will, would you give us a copy of the book as well? and i said, sure. assuming you have a good idea of which i think you do. and he said well, he said, do you have time and money? to travel and do research? i said yes, i have some grants from the university. and he said well, he said, i think if you would go to various presidential libraries, perhaps starting with herbert hoover's library up in iowa, and going at least through every presidential library through lyndon johnson, he said i think you'd find a lot of stuff in presidential papers that has not been redacted by your former employer, the central intelligence agency.
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so i said, hey, that's a great idea. and that's exactly what i did. you know, i went to austin, texas, and hyde park, and in some places i can't and in other places i stayed in a hostel, sleeping in a room with four to six other guys. because i like to eat well, you see. that's what i did. so that was the second serendipitous. then the third one, occurred one day as i was walking out of the navy department library at the end of the day's research. a gentleman coming out of an adjoining building notice i was walking towards the bus stop, and he said, where are you going? i told him that and he offered me a ride. he turned out to be a native historian who had published a work on naval operations during the cuban missile crisis that had a few pertinent pages on guantanamo. files were in the unsecure area where
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he worked. that is now my book that he would not be there if this chance encounter had never happened. the main argument of my book, briefly stated, is that from 1898 to the present, guantanamo has endured, in large part, because it serves both cuban and american nationalistic purposes that had made it both a point of friction and appoint a diplomatic compromise. the longest period of friction began shortly after fidel castro came to power, and began railing against the u.s. military presence in southeastern cuba. which at various times he has described as an entry listed anachronism, and as an illegal occupation of cuba territory.
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most of latin america history have some knowledge of castro's hostility towards the base. but what is generally not known is that from the early 1900s to the present, guantanamo has also been a sight for diplomatic accommodation, compromise, and cooperation. the terms dictated by the platt amendment only stated that the united states would buy or lease naval or station, buy or lease them. in cuba. it did not specify a number of such stations, nor their locations. that was a matter of negotiated compromise between the cuban president and theodore rooseve roosevelt, that the united states would obtain really only one major naval station and that would be guantanamo, not havana.
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now, obviously, the united states has always had the upper hand in these negotiations. when i say diplomatic compromise, i'm not suggesting that the two parties started on a level playing field. that certainly would not be the case. the second major compromise occurred in 1934 when the united states abrogated the platt amendment, which had become an increasingly unpopular with the various sectors of the cuban people, and also a number of u.s. legislators who thought the cuban president seeking to extend the terms beyond their constitutional limits would manipulate the platt amendment to their own advantage. in both 1903 and 1934, the united states in dictating the
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terms either of the original lease, which basically said that the united states would occupy guantanamo and have it so military forces were present, the u.s. military pulled out, it would reverse to cuba. or, if by mutual agreement, it was decided that the united states would turn the base over, relinquish it, to cuba. and the exact language was, as i said, dictated by theodore roosevelt in 1903, and his cousin, franklin roosevelt, when he abrogated the platt amendment, rewrote or reinserted the validity or assorted the validity of beliefs and use the exact language that theodore roosevelt had dictated in 1903.
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now, i've passed out some photographs. and there are two photographs of the guantanamo bay itself. and if you look at them and you look at small boats, in both pictures you will get some sense of the expanse of this day. i was in guantanamo for about four days back in 2007, as the guest of the commander of the base. and i could not take a panoramic photograph, nor could i look at the entire expanse of the bay itself that it is huge. christopher columbus saw, passed by guantanamo i think on his third voyage, to this part of
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the world. and he pronounced it grundig, large bore. and it is huge. and it could easily accommodate for decades at the entire united states fleet, and that's what it did. it was the winter quarters for the u.s. fleet for serving in the 1920s, 1930s, 40s and so on. now, i think it's important for me to note that the united states a system -- insistence on acquiring a naval base in cuba was largely the result of a collaborative effort between theodore roosevelt and the foremost naval historian or naval geopolitical theorist to this day, often on. both of these gentlemen in the late 19th century, trained of
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the caribbean becoming becoming america's meditate and they became to visualize guantanamo as america's gibraltar. it was the naval theorist who proposed this idea, and roosevelt, the policymaker who made it happen. this of course was never the dream of you been nationalist. nor was it a concession that they freely granted. but most cuban scholars, interestingly, have been reluctant to criticize theodore roosevelt because he fought for cuban independence and he never sought to annex cuba or to make it a u.s. colony. and that was in contrast to his close friend, leonard wood, who as military governor of cuba and who wanted very much to annex it. it may be partly because of the
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history of guantanamo evokes conflicting emotions, that most cubans have been reluctant to write about it. even in the spanish literature, there is -- there are not that many cuban histories of guantanamo. as for american students of cuban history, until recently most of them have either ignored guantanamo or discussed in terms of the spanish-american war, the squabbles over the platt amendment, as a bone of contention between the united states and castro, or in its current controversial context as a maximum-security prison and interrogation center. surprisingly, naval destroyers africana ignored it or claim no knowledge of its history. guantanamo has served u.s.
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interests in many ways. since 1898. and was instrumental in our defeat of the spanish warships of avril so they're a network bottleneck inside the harbor of sanity i go, cuba, 45 miles down the coast from guantanamo. and the u.s. naval commander, william sampson, once he realized that they had, for whatever reason, had gone in to the port of the set of iago, ordered a marine detachment to take guantanamo. and they took it in an afternoon. and they took it from the seat. and up until this, at this time, in the marine corps history, the marines were perhaps in danger of going out of business. because they really didn't have a very well-developed sense of mission. most of them at that time were doing guard duty.
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amphibious warfare became a new mission for the marine corps, and many marine corps history date that sense of amphibious warfare as a mission from guantánamo. anyway, guantanamo is 35 miles east of sanity i go to cuba, and once it was occupied by the u.s. green corps, it became almost immediately a repair facility there. and what happened was sampson was able to impose a naval blockade outside the port of santa on go cuba. and he did it for his ships to blow the spanish naval detachment to smithereens, which they did.
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but what would happen is that at night, a lot of ships would leave the blockade, and does the cover of darkness they would go down the coast to guantanamo to take on more coal, or do any necessary repairs. and for a time, clara barton had a hospital ship in guantanamo during this period. i might point out the cover of the book shows as an illustration, showing the marines raising the first black in cuba at guantanamo. well, after we decide we would not only take guantanamo, we would keep it, and the reasoning and the time i would argue on part of people like theodore roosevelt and his secretary of war, was that cuba, once independent, would still be
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vulnerable to seizure or certainly attack from european powers, and in particular, in very old germany under kaiser wilhelm the second, who was looking for his own place under the sun. and will certainly interested in the caribbean. he was also interested in some all in the pacific. and so that in large part was, i think, the reason for the platt amendment and the insistence in article six of the platt amendment that we would either buy or lease stations in cuba. over time, it became the winter headquarters for the u.s. fleet, as i said. it was in the darkest days of world war ii that guantanamo provided the greatest service to u.s., cuba and allied interests. in 1942, and for much of 1943, guantanamo serve as the
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caribbean hub of an interlocking convoy system that provided protection for allied ships, particularly ships, marine, merchant marine ships coming up from places like a rube that were carrying oil or other precious strategic supplies that we wanted to go either to new york or to halifax, to aid the allied cause. the sheltering of these merchant marine ships with a destroyer escort, in some cases planes flying overhead, turn guantanamo into the caribbean hub of this interlocking convoy system. and eventually it persuaded admiral donuts of the third reich to withdraw back to their home port in germany.
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for time, guantanamo was the second only to new york as the busiest port in the western hemisphere. and because the convoy system worked, strategic wartime material not only controlling them with bok side and sugar, and the u.s. military presence in cuba also incurred the fascists and nazis from trying to turn cuba into a caribbean version of the channel islands. guantanamo became a flashpoint for cuban u.s. animosities toward the end of the eisenhower administration. when ronald castro kidnapped and held hostage for a little more than a month 24 u.s. servicemen, including 11 berean's who were returning to the base from liberty in guantanamo city. now, raul castro justified his
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kidnapping on the basis that the united states had allowed guantanamo to be used for refueling purposes by his military, military aircraft and for also transferring arms to the forces, after the eisenhower administration had placed an embargo on all weapons sales to cuban believes. as relations between washington and cuba deteriorated, following the installation of the revolutionary government, which of course talk about on january 1, 1959, guantanamo was viewed by both washington and havana with concern. castro believed that a u.s. invasion might begin at guantanamo. at various times, particularly during the cuban missile crisis,
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washington feared that the cubans with soviet encouragement and possible assistance might attack the base. there was also concern that if the united states ever decided to leave guantanamo, that it might become a soviet naval facility. if you look at cuba, guantanamo is -- i might say, described as strategically positioned to overlook both what is called the windward passage between the caribbean and the atlantic, it's also fairly straight shot from guantanamo down to the panama canal, which of course theodore roosevelt intended to build. and perhaps equally important, cuba could provide easy access to one of our major ports, the
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port of louisiana, or you might call it the port of new orleans. and i think at various times there was concern that if the soviets were two, during the cold war, going to take over guantanamo, the port of new orleans would be another region that would be threatened, at our national security concern would focus on that particular area. now there were also instances during this period when the senior u.s. military and civilian officials, including robert kennedy, and general limits are, proposed that deceptive operations might be staged at guantánamo to justify a full scale u.s. military
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invasion to oust the revolutionary government. under fidel castro. for chile, that never happened. casters and typically to guantanamo is well known. but guantanamo has also provided for no castro with anti-american platform that he otherwise would have lacked. it is not really clear that castro wanted to get us out of guantanamo by force. he would posture. he would threaten, but he would back down. in the early months of president lyndon johnson's administration, when castro renewed his harassment of base personnel by shutting off the potable water supply, president johnson and defense secretary robert mcnamara retaliated by firing most of the cuban workers who
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lived in cuba, but it -- community who guantanamo. when castro realized he was going to lose as a result of his action, he offered to turn the water back on. and offer that johnson quickly rejected. wanted like to do is read two short sections from this book to give you some flavor of what i have written about. start at the beginning and then go pretty close to the end. guantanamo bay flies at the southeastern tip of cuba facing the caribbean. it encompasses a large naval base that occupies an area of approximately 45 square miles of land and water. the bay itself is shaped. is about 12 miles long and a northeast to southwest direction and 6 miles across at its greatest width.
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ships enter and exit the bay between the would point and windward point, through a one and one fourth mile wide channel with a 42-foot dredged depth. because of his deep draft, length and width, guantguantanamo bay has historically as i've said, been able to accommodate a sizable portion of the u.s. navy fleet at any time. the geographical surroundings -- saronic has its beautiful aspects of broad stretch of bluewater, framed by a crescent shaped shores. but this is an arid section of cuba and the hills that hug the coastline are rocky and dotted with scrub trees and bushes. the most compelling description of this tropical setting and its naval activity was written by navy officer casey mcintosh who could see the following word picture for the american mercury
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during his seven-month assignment to guantanamo bay in 1926. . .
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speak back-and-forth carrying seniors, on official visits. that is all we will hear between now and april, come on in gone, let's go. this is a talkative portrayal of a bustling but normal day between world war i end world war ii at this naval station it should suggest to the leader -- reader that imperialism viewed only as exploitation pails to capture certain essential qualities of guantanamo. as the following history of this unit military outpost will illustrate, guantanamo provides a prism through which the u.s. cuban relations from the spanish-american war to the present. now, before i it lead the last brief excerpt, however like to say that to be one of the most
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fascinating developments in recent history has been the initiation of the so-called offensive line talks in 1996. a diplomatic initiative that continues to this day. it was originally proposed by the cuban military to reduce accidents and fatalities caused by a haitian refugees trying to escape from guantanamo to the surrounding mine fields and by cubans trying to get to it guantanamo from cuba. this particularly the problem with would-be cuban refugees or the united states deciding to repatriate some of these cubans than it did not want to grant asylum to in the united states and so the cubans came to the base, a cuban military and said we need to talk.
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and these talks began and a fairly quickly were organized into a monthly exchange just inside the northeast and trends. a land entrance to the base. and the talks have resulted in a number of things. american planes flying in and out of guantanamo, had to execute a rather dangerous approach from going out over international waters and then making a direct approach into a void in violating cuban airspace. and one of of of the planes had a rough landing and rolled off the runway and nobody was injured but it damaged the struts of the plane. after this happened when an american negotiators senior state department official came to one of these meetings and
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said it would it be possible for us to borrow a quadra or utilize a card and of cuban airspace and the military officer and commander said certainly. the cuban government has no interest in u.s. military planes crashing on cuban soil and so that was done just like fact. on another request which i do think when to speak to was also granted was the americans and asking and of pilots flying in and out of guantanamo could report to oncoming hurricanes or important weather conditions over cuban air frequencies. that request was also granted. more recently what has happened and the whole issue of what would happen if a forest fire were to break out along the
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fence line came up and particularly if people fighting the fire on either cuban or american soldiers were burned. well, there is no burning units -- burn unit on the base of guantanamo, but there is a burn unit at the hospital in guantanamo city so of the cubans pull up one day and loaded up the navy commander on the base and a senior state department official took him to guantanamo city and they toured the burn unit there and then they treated them to a big barbecue. a rather interesting -- it was at a hotel that actually a cuban hotel that overlooks the base. the senior state department official said to me he was there at the time and said i turned to
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the cuban commander and said it with your binoculars you could have watched me shaving this morning. so rather interesting incident. but this is the only place in cuba where face-to-face place the moment -- diplomacy takes place and as the cubans have said it is precisely here that is needed because it is here where our military's confront each other. so according to the cuban government's stated view, that military enclave, guantanamo, is it the exact place where americans and cuban soldiers standing face-to-face and thus the place where serenity and a sense of responsibility are most required. consequently, what prevails there today is not to what can
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be described as an atmosphere of hostility or war. that's an official statement of the cuban government. even if this were interrupted as propaganda, i think it has been well-documented by recent history and so i like to answer or address any questions that she may have. >> what is the possibility that those context could be broadened and lead to a more substantive discussion in the relationships between the two entities? >> well, i think it would be a great place to begin to move toward normalization of relations. i think the fact that that mechanism exists, i think that gives both cuba and the united states a lever that could be used at guantanamo and used to
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possibly lead toward normalization of relations. i just published an op ed in the fort lauderdale sun sentinel in which i said that is pretty clear that the detention center at guantanamo is going to close long before we decide to pull out of the navy base itself. but if we were to decide, we and the cubans were to decide to move toward normalization of relations, of course, the most likely thing that could happen is that guantanamo, the base itself would become a very important bargaining chip in that normalization of relations and i think it would be most likely that we would turn the base over to the cubans. after all it is on cuban soil,
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but i don't think we could propose that now without in the current environment without risking political suicide for any politician who would propose it to. but i would hope that personally speaking we could end the embargo. i think the embargo frankly in my opinion makes very little sense today. we have normal relations with vietnam. we have relations with lots of governance that we don't particularly like and let's face it, the embargo doesn't hurt to fidel castro, doesn't hurt the senior members of the military, doesn't hurt the senior members of the communist party, it hurts the man and woman in the saint. i have a friend in havana who
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teaches at the university of havana antics equivalent of about $50 a month. and also just to push this a little bit more, we are increasing our trade with cuba. it is currently limited to the export of u.s. medical supplies and agricultural goods but i understand that export figures over the past two years have skyrocketed from around 325 million to over 750 million so i think that things aren't moving in that direction, but i really think that whatever i have read it and i also know the senior state department officials, in fact, he's the one that took me to guantanamo who engages in these talks, i really think that everything i have read about what goes on there just is common sense, it just isn't -- i mean, centuries of
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guards making obscene gestures or firing shots over the fence line, that ended a long time ago. ever since these talks had begun if anybody does something like that they are out of their. they are just pullout. other questions? >> i assume you're with the director of intelligence. >> i was. >> fundamentally you were over two. >> guess i was. >> i am not all that familiar with some things in south america. can you tell me basically were you in north or south america or in the southern section? >> well, actually as an analyst with the cia i worked on every country -- worked on the caribbean, i worked on central america, worked on mexico and south america, the one country and never worked on was cuba.
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[laughter] that's right. but i was the caribbean analyst for particularly haiti and their dominican republic and jamaica for a while and then i was chief of the indian branch and then i worked on argentina and lived in argentina and also lived in basel. >> you're involved with venezuela? >> yes, to some extent. >> i didn't know that to cover all of south america. >> i was a regional analyst. let me say a few words about hugo taught us and what i am going to say may sound a little radical what most people think of the cia analysts, a few years
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ago i read a book by a diplomatic historian about latin america, it fellow man named mark, he made an assertion that i actually agree with and he said that ever since the end of the 19th century it up to the present when the united states wanted something from latin america and it didn't get it by asking for it nicely tended to get nasty. i can think of a lot of cases in which that happen and and so the appearance from time to time upon the scene of people like hugo chavez or want corona or certain times other latin american and populists leaders, i think is the payback that we have gotten for having a big
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stick policy towards this region. i'm not exactly sure how quickly and why we developed this hegemonic approach or attitude and i think it really did begin in the late 19th century because before that although we were interested in on america it may have actually begun to some extent and may have been a sort of foreshadowing of that in the monroe doctrine. of course, written by john quincy adams, but i think in terms of, it seems to have been a sort of approach that we have often taken. that said, i do think that hugo chavez is probably not and i may be wrong with this prediction, but i don't think he's going to be around all that much longer because he is bending himself --
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spending himself into a predictable financial crisis. he is so much in favor of populist policies that address the needs of the port and that is certainly not a bad thing at all. but by making and in use of major lenders -- making enemies of major lenders and turning to governments like iran and north korea, he is dealing with problems of debt to an inflation and i think he is not bright enough frankly to get himself out of of the fix he has put himself then. but also i would have to say that there are a number of countries in latin america that do not share chavez be used,
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ideas for the united states with the rest of the world. certainly the government of peru, the government of mexico doesn't and while in brazil under this has to deal with venezuela because it is close by i certainly think that actually this dilva is a very wonderful president of brazil. i think he has put his country on a path that is leading it to becoming one of the great powers of the future. other questions? >> i was wondering, in our opinion, you believe that guantanamo is strategically important to our military today.
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>> now, not right now. since the 1970's and 80's guantanamo has become primarily a coast guard facility and there also is a place is no longer call immigration and naturalization but csis i guess it is, and is a process people there who want asylum. however, there are plans underway to expand the panama canal so that it can accommodate a much larger ship that it has been able to, of course, with the development of very large battle ships and aircraft
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carriers and freighters and so on. assuming the expansion of the panama canal takes place, once it is completed in then in guantanamo mind as soon echinus strategic significance that it hasn't had four recent decades and i think that right now today want, is proving its worth once again as a deployment center and as a place to take people who can be rescued and needed medical attention and i think that is, you know, some seen that may certainly put a more positive spin on an image that guantanamo will have then it has
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had in recent years. >> what would you see as cuba's political and economic future after fidel castro passes? if you were projecting into the future. >> well, i think that raul castro has some evidence that raul castro and would like to increase commercial ties with united states and people have suggested that he would like to deal with the united states in a way similar to the the way mainland china deals with united states. the problem is, of course, you don't have human rights, very give human rights record in cuba and in these from the u.s. perspective it is really don't have democratic elections and i
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was in the most powerful organizations in cuba right now are the cuban communist party and still the cuban military. cuban generals have made millions of dollars off of the recent increase in tourist trade to cuba and i am not sure what i certainly don't think that those groups want to see a normalization of relations with united states that would in any way threaten their position but once the castros have gone from the scene, events may very well force their hand or just simply be too powerful for them. who knows? i don't have a better crystal ball than anybody else, but i really do think that there are lots of people who wouldn't like
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to make money in cuba and that capitalist incentive i think over time will become even more powerful. other questions? richard. >> have you foresee the possibility that the hierarchy and the communist party and the army might emerge as the new capitalist in leading cuba? >> that's an interesting thought. i don't know. sure, that could happen. but what i am wondering about is the american political side of that equation and you end my friend john roach might be able to speak more about that than i can.
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i know now. [laughter] >> well, that is the chinese policy. >> sure. >> we have certain way worked out and ending with china and i'd go see any great distinction certainly with a cuban think that is a lot simpler because it is much less powerful interlocutor. >> once raul castro had departed from the scene, a lot of animosity that cuban-americans have felt towards the revolution will abate or disappear and i would suggest that is already abating because now you're talking about people that children with our grandchildren of the cubans who fled cuba to
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the united states in 1959, 1960 and 1961, but that generation has gray hair if they are still around and they are not as dynamic as influential as the new generation. i have some students at the university of alabama who our grandchildren, cuban refugees, and what they know and when i tried to do is get them when they want to write topics on the caribbean, i teach a course in care of in history, i tried to get them go and interview their grandmother or grandfather if they are still alive and find out what it was like for them to come to the u.s. because they really don't know much of that history unless they are forced to learn about it.
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>> if i might one more about your book, somewhere along about chapter for coverage tapestry maybe, you elude to various on the brink of rebellion in cuba and an outbreak of outbreak in the country and you indicate directly that there might have been a racial component to that and i believe at one point indicated that the fear was in washington and then there would be more likelihood of outbreak among the former slaves in cuba. >> well, there is a new book that has come out. i don't think it is a particularly good book, but it is called the imperial crew, i believe. it is about the trip that and theodore roosevelt sent his
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daughter, alice, on along with william taft. and that a book, of course, points out that theodore roosevelt was a man of his time and that he had strong racial feelings of prejudice towards the cubans who fought with american forces in 1898 and my own view is on the basis of having written tests comment on this research, it is that we would not have a won the war in cuba in such a short time had it not been for the intelligence provided by the cuban volunteers who knew exactly where the
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spanish were, who fought alongside the americans, and americans who die in cuba during the war in 1898, and number of them got congressional medals honor. they were sort of being handed out by hotcakes posthumously and almost all of them gone military burial site. the cubans were buried with a foul. in some cases if they were near the local villages, people might come out and reclaim the bodies, but they were buried in ditches and i had no names. and, yes, there were a number of people in that era of theodore roosevelt and others who really didn't appreciate or give any sign a full appreciation for the
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service the debt to ms. provided. after all the cubans had been fighting since 1895. we get into the war the cubans been there for four years and also thought unsuccessful war for the 10 years' war. so the new lot about guerrilla fighting and tactics and in this cuban leaders, maximal gomez, they were denied participation in the victory celebrations at the end of the war. this was bad for people like fidel castro to seize upon and to make guantanamo, not just guantanamo, but the whole u.s. intervention in their struggle for independence and object of a
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nationalistic hatred. i think it is a very sad part of that history but in the year 2009 and obviously in licensing. [laughter] other questions or comments? i tried to be as balanced as i can

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